Entire senior class at predominantly black school applies to college

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

During the last academic year, only 57 percent of the students at Ballou High School graduated. But this year, every single senior has applied to college.

This year’s group of seniors collectively decided that they were all going to apply to college, and some of the students have even applied to multiple colleges, some as many as 14. Already, one of the seniors has received 11 acceptance letters.

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The school is located in one of Washington, D.C.’s poorest neighborhoods, and because of that, it has a poor reputation, with many of its students dropping out before they can make it to graduation. But Ballou principal Yetunde Reeves said in speaking to the Washington Post that the school is trying to change not only its reputation but its reality.

“There are some schools and communities where college is an automatic next step. There is no celebration,” Reeves said. “Our kids don’t get that same message. We are trying to create an environment where going to college is what Ballou does as well.”

Many of the students work with Ballou college and career coordinator Jamanda Porter, who said of the school’s efforts, “We are meeting our students where they are, but we are pushing them to higher expectations.”